A lot of criticism has been made of the support given to Hitler and his party by some Germany royalties. It has always seemed incorrect to accuse
the royalties in this way since at first most of them were unaware (as were the rest of the German people) of the extent of Hitler’s evil plans and, following the total humiliation and bankrupting of their country in 1918-1919, they saw any form of strong leadership as a means of restoring order and national pride. I came across an extremely illuminating article, however, which not only states Kaiser Wilhelm’s attitude towards Hitler but also demonstrates what I am sure was always his intention – even before the First World War – to create a cultured and peaceful nation. This article is an interview with the Kaiser in 1938, during his exile in Holland and I think it wipes away many of the myths of the man as a sabre-rattling war-monger.
This is what he says of Hitler:
“There is a man alone, without family, without children, without God....He builds legions but he doesn’t build a nation. A nation is created by families, a religion, tradition: it is made up out of the hearts of mothers, the wisdom of fathers, the joy and the exuberance of children. [Of Germany under Hitler he says]....an all-swallowing State, disdainful of human dignities and the ancient structure of our race, sets itself up in place of everything else. And the man who, alone, incorporates in himself this whole State, has neither a God to honour nor a dynasty to conserve, nor a past to consult....
For a few months I was inclined to believe in National Socialism. I thought of it as a necessary fever. And I was gratified to see that there were, associated with it for a time, some of the wisest and most outstanding Germans. But these, one by one, he has got rid of or even killed....He has left nothing but a bunch of shirted gangsters....
This man could bring home victories to our people each year without bringing them...glory....But of our Germany, which was a nation of poets and musicians and artists and soldiers, he has made a nation of hysterics and hermits, engulfed in a mob and led by a thousand liars or fanatics....”
Interview with the Kaiser
It is often said that Kaiser Wilhelm was not very astute. Considering that he gave this interview in 1938 only a couple of months after Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich agreement with Hitler, it is clear that he had a far clearer understanding of what was forthcoming than many of his contemporaries did.